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China to step up control over cold-chain food imports amid pandemic

A police officer of immigration inspection checkpoint checks a truck at Dongxing port in Dongxing, south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, Jan. 8, 2022. (Xinhua/Cao Yiming)

BEIJING, Jan. 24 (Xinhua) -- China will ramp up control measures over imported cold-chain food and farm produce to prevent the spread of COVID-19 through entry points, a customs official said Monday.

Ni Yuefeng, head of the General Administration of Customs (GAC), said the country will "strictly monitor and test imported cold-chain food, agricultural products and high-risk non-cold-chain container goods."

Ni made the remarks when speaking at a meeting mapping out the GAC's work agenda this year. China recently found imported infections related to cold-chain goods or international mail, and the Omicron variant currently dominating the global spread also posed an increasing threat to the country.

Companies involved in cargo that tested positive for COVID-19 will face restrictive measures, including suspension of their import business, Ni said.

The customs found 550 COVID-19-positive specimens through random inspections over cold-chain food and farm produce last year, canceled or suspended import qualification of 884 companies, and supervised preventative disinfection of 1.15 million tonnes of goods.

At Monday's meeting, Ni also stressed disinfection of inbound flights and other high-risk means of transportation, and precise quarantine for related personnel, including air and ship crew.  ■